Click here for the Daily News' 1999 Exxon Valdez series "Legacy of a Spill."
It's been 10 years since Capt. Joe Hazelwood radioed the Coast Guard
to report the Exxon Valdez had "fetched up hard aground" and was "evidently
leaking some oil." (Radio
message, 408k WAV)
That scratchy, understated
message set the scene for one of the worst human-caused environmental
disasters in history. Over the next spring and summer, the news in Alaska
and around the world was dominated by images and stories from Prince
William Sound and the Gulf of Alaska - thousands of dead and dying birds
and sea mammals, angry fishermen, armies of rock wipers improbably cleaning
beaches with rags.
railed at the industry's failed pledge to transport oil safely and to
clean it up once it spilled, and at the government's dereliction as
A decade later,
what has happened to the 11 million gallons of oil lost in Alaska's
waters, to the wildlife of Prince William Sound, to the blackened wilderness
beaches, to the people whose lives were altered, perhaps forever?
How has industry
changed, and are government and private citizen oversight any better?
For that matter, where is Hazelwood now, or the Exxon Valdez? Long after
the national media moved on to the next crisis, the Anchorage Daily
News chronicled the repercussions of the oil spill - in Prince William
Sound, in the homes of fishermen, in the courtrooms and in the laboratories.
This on-line retrospective
of the Exxon Valdez oil spill brings to light the ongoing record of
the past 10 years, giving voice to the words and light to the images
that have told this story for Alaska from a perspective that no other
news organization can provide.